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Deep Lake Water Cooling System
Deep Lake Water Cooling System


Surely this can be applied here in Chicago, right?

Enwave and the City of Toronto have created an innovative cooling system that brings an alternative to conventional air conditioning to cool Toronto's downtown core — one that is clean, price competitive and energy efficient. A permanent layer of icy-cold (4°C) water 83 meters below the surface of Lake Ontario provides naturally cold water. This water is the renewable source of energy that Enwave's leading-edge technology uses to cool office towers, sports & entertainment complexes and proposed waterfront developments.


The system has been in operation since 2004.

A similar form of air condition is being used in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At Purdy's Wharf, we read here, it “provides all the cooling for the building for 10 ½ of the year. During the remaining six weeks, the buildings use conventional chillers, but the seawater is used to cool the condensers. The system was paid off in two years, and saves the complex more than $100,000 annually in electricity and maintenance costs.”

In the U.S., Cornell University is implementing its own deep lake water cooling system.

Deep Lake Water Cooling System


Wikipedia has an entry, of course.

8 COMMENTS —
  • Anonymous
  • May 30, 2007 at 11:26:00 AM CDT
  • sadlty, this is the only thing cool about toronto. I wish I was in NY.

    You know that the water cooling system is grossly undersized; it is merely a publicity stunt, just like Toronto's sole wind turbine.

    If Chicago were to learn from toronto, I recommend ignoring it.


  • Philip Small
  • May 30, 2007 at 12:39:00 PM CDT
  • I heard about this first in Hawaii as an ocean-based approach. Found this article which mentions the Hawaii project:

    Engineers have also turned the deep ocean as a cooling source. Because of the churning action of wind, waves, and currents, ocean water must be drawn from greater depths to get consistently cold temperatures.

    The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), a state research facility located on the Big Island of Hawaii, runs its own deep-source cooling plant. The system cools buildings on the agency's campus, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The plant draws 42.8-degree Fahrenheit (6-degree Celsius) seawater from a depth of 2,000 feet (610 meters).

    "NELHA saves about [U.S.] $3,000 a month in electrical costs by using the cold seawater air-conditioning process," said Jan War, an operations manager. "We still use a freshwater loop to cool our buildings, since seawater is so corrosive."


    I was told that co-generation of condensed water, both for drinking water and condensed in place in the soil to water plants, are of substantial benefit at the Hawaiian location.


  • Alexander Trevi
  • May 30, 2007 at 4:00:00 PM CDT
  • Hey anonymous: Chicago may have already copied something from Toronto: a sole win turbine sits on Daley Plaza, the city's main civic space, although it's actually inside one of the federal buildings fronting it and not actually outside. So go figure. Anyway, publicity stunt or not, the deep lake cooling system sounds "innovative" and grand enough that I can see Mayor Daley calling for at least one system installed for, say, one of the lakefront museums for show and bragging.

    And thanks for the article, Philip!


  • Anonymous
  • May 31, 2007 at 2:43:00 AM CDT
  • Wait a minute, you mean that Halifax actually needs AC during the winter?

    I heard somewhere that Dubai meets all its heating needs with human body heat for a good part of the year too;-)


  • Anonymous
  • June 4, 2008 at 2:11:00 PM CDT
  • An anonymous commentator described the Toronto system as "grossly undersized".

    Let's be clear about this -- ALL of the city's domestic water input goes through the heat exchanger used to cool downtown buildings. The system could be upsized to pump additional cold water, beyond what is required to meet citizen's water needs. But there would be an environmental impact from doing so.

    The excess water, once run through the heat exchanger, would have to be discharged, with all its waste heat.


  • Anonymous
  • July 2, 2008 at 11:46:00 PM CDT
  • It provides 78,000 tons of cooling and if thermal storage was utilised it could increase this by a factor of 4. Publicity stunt?


  • Anonymous
  • August 20, 2008 at 4:35:00 AM CDT
  • What do you think about the environmental impact? I think it is not so eco-friendly...If you modify the temperature of lake with waste heat...only 1°C could be a big impact! Do you know something about this?


  • Anonymous
  • October 6, 2012 at 12:43:00 PM CDT
  • is there a downside to using this technology?



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